Postcard from Elba, Italy...and the French word for "puddle of water"
Audacity and "avoir du culot": going beyond the limits in Elba, Italy

Chantier or construction site + A hole in the wall is better than un trou dans la tête! Caution while sleeping....

Kitchen renovation france
Our kitchen here in La Ciotat. See a before picture at the end of this archive post.

Today's Word: le chantier

    : construction site, building site, work zone

Book: 365 Days of French Expressions: Learn one new French Expression per Day

Depuis notre retour de l'ile d'Elbe, Kristi, Smokey, et moi, vivons dans un chantier. Nous essayons de "go with the flow," c'est-à-dire de lâcher prise
Since our return from Ebla Island, Kristi, Smokey, and I are living in a work zone. We are trying to go with the flow, or "let go."

Click here to listen to this sentence with "le chantier"


    by Kristi Espinasse

Pulling up to our driveway after our one-week escapade, I asked my husband if he had papillons in his stomach--because I sure did. Butterflies galore! We were about to see what our La Ciotat home, where we moved 7 months ago, looked like one week into the renovation. Our contractor, Monsieur D., had sent photos during the week, and we were amazed at the progress we'd seen in the 5 days since the demolition.

Opening the front door the salon appeared much bigger than before thanks to the removal of the hall wall. And everything was so tidy--nickel chrome! as my friend Sophie used to say (she's the one who used to answer, "in the crapper" or dans les chiottes! every time her husband asked where were his glasses, keys, or other absentmindedly-placed things. But I digress--je m'écarte du sujet! And today's topic, which is also the word-of-the-day, is our chantier.... 

Looking around the rez-de-chaussée of our 1960s-built house, a thin veil of microfine dust hung in the air. Beyond, I could see the exposed walls of our kitchen, where all the sunny yellow tiles had been removed. A pang of nostalgia now pushed away all those butterflies, but they would be back. As everyone says, It will all be worth it in the end!

Kitchen remodel before after
The day the realtor showed us the house

Moving through the fog, we could see the flagstone floor which looked even cleaner than before. Jean-Marc and I were impressed, but that sentiment soon turned to perplexed as we headed upstairs to set down our suitcases....

There, beside the tête de lit--alarmingly close to where we rest our heads as we read in bed--was a hole in the wall the size of a golfball! We stood staring at that neverending trou until finally Jean-Marc picked up the phone and called Monsieur D., who hurried right over in time to say.... "Whoops!" (or some combination of French words that amounted to uh-oh spaghettio. Indeed, our Sardinian chef de chantier had made a wee error in calculation when it came to rewiring one of the downstairs bedrooms.  

We were quick to forgive Monsieur D. as, up until now, he had been nickel chrome, or impeccable, in all his work. That said, I took extra precaution in taking my nap yesterday...moving my pillow all the way to the foot of the bed, where I cautiously rested my head as the pounding and drilling continued downstairs. A few feet away from the vibrating wall, I made a cozy nest for Smokey, who slept on the floor beside me and a slew of displaced things. Two more months to go....


Click on the center of the screen, below, to watch the video--where you will see the hole in our bedroom wall. The photo begins on our nightstand, where you'll see one of my favorite books, The Man Who Planted Trees, available in French and in English, below.


papillon = butterfly
le salon = living room
nickel chrome = impeccable
c'est nickel! = it's perfect! it's fantastic! it's amazing!
dans les chiottes = in the crapper
s'écarter du sujet = to digress
le chantier = the work zone, construction site
le rez-de-chaussée = ground floor, first floor
le trou = hole
le chef de chantier = contractor

One of my favorite books is Jean Giono's The Man Who Planted Trees, (available here). It is short and sweet and has an important message. Do check it out. It is also available here, in French

Paris Peace T-Shirt available in a rainbow of colors

Embryolisse - face moisturizer from France with so many uses. See the reviews!


Smokey sleeping during chantier

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety